In 2011, Somali pirates hijacked 28 ships and received $ 130 million in ransom for them. Recently, however, the Gulf of Guinea region has become no less dangerous than Somalia.
On 28 August, off the coast of Togo, the ship Energy Centurion, owned by the Greek company Golden Energy Management, was seized. A crew of 24 Russian sailors was captured.
Armed pirates, waiting for darkness, boarded the ship. There was no security service on board, but the captain managed to send a signal for help to the local coast guard. The Togolese fleet dispatched a patrol boat, which managed to intercept the tanker. The criminals did not respond to the demand to stop and opened fire. The captured ship managed to break away from the pursuit and disappeared into the waters of Benin. The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) informed the authorities of the incident and sent a warning to all seagoing vessels in that region.
After a while, Energy Centurion was discovered. The pirates did not get in touch and put forward any demands. Their goal was to rob a tanker carrying 50,000 tons of gasoline and diesel fuel. The invaders quickly towed the ship to the shore and began to pump out fuel. After about 3,200 tons had been pumped, the bandits left the plane. As a result, the company's losses turned out to be very small - about $ 3,000. It is unknown why the looters stopped moving the cargo. It is believed that they could have been frightened by the threat of interference from the nearby US military aviation, or they simply did not have enough technical resources to pump all the fuel. The tanker was towed to a safe port. None of the crew were injured.
Over the past year, seizure of ships has increased on the West African coast. In most cases, pirates act according to the same scheme: after taking the ship, the bandits rob it and leave. They are much more likely to resort to violence than the Somali pirates, since they do not need a ransom for the crew.